All week long as the New Mexico Legislature has convened in Santa Fe, a steady mantra has been heard in every committee room, every floor session, and every press release: “New Mexico is flush with cash thanks to our old friends Oil and Gas.” And to capitalize on that the oil and gas industry’s lobby, the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association released their annual report today, really playing to the crowd with the title: Fueling New Mexico: How New Mexico’s Oil and Natural Gas Industry Benefits All. Because it’s propaganda, we noticed the NMOGA report is missing a few things: negative impacts to air, water, and public health You can read the propaganda if you want, but we couldn’t help but outline the reality of the things they DID NOT include in their report.
Here are some other ways the oil and gas industry impacts New Mexicans, and which are in no way beneficial.
There are an estimated 144,377 New Mexicans, including 27,975 students and 119 schools and daycares — located within a one-half mile health risk area due to oil and gas development. (Source: the Oil & Gas Threat Map by Earthworks).
New Mexico’s top oil producing counties, Eddy and San Juan County, both received an “F” for air quality in the American Lung Association’s State of the Air 2022 Report. (Source: ALA).
Lea County, one of New Mexico’s top oil producing counties, has had the second-highest risk of asthma attacks in the entire U.S. (Source: Clean Air Task Force).
In the summer of 2022, a Carlsbad air monitor recorded 22 days of excessive ozone levels. (Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency).
Exposure to ground-level ozone contributes to respiratory illnesses, such as asthma and increased risk for respiratory infections, and long-term exposure poses an increased risk of premature death (Source: American Lung Association).
It can take 11 million gallons of water to drill a single well in NM’s Permian Basin each year. (Source: Science Advances).
Put another way, it can take one football stadium of water up to 40 feet high to frack a new oil & gas shale well (Source: Forbes).
Meanwhile, 60%+ of NM is in moderate to extreme drought (Source: U.S. Drought Monitor).
In 2021, New Mexico’s oil and gas industry generated approximately 60 billion gallons of produced water, over 160 million gallons per day, equal to New Mexico’s total daily municipal water consumption. (Source: New Mexico State University).
More than half (53%) of NM’s greenhouse gas emissions come from the oil and gas industry. (Source: NM Interagency Climate Change Task Force.)
NASA recently spotted a 2-mile long pollution leak related to oil and gas development in Carlsbad, venting 40,300 pounds of toxic methane gas per hour. (Source: NASA).
The largest methane cloud in the U.S. was found in San Juan County and linked to natural gas activity. This 2,500 sq-mile methane cloud is visible from space. (Source: American Geophysical Union).
In just one year, 1,368 oil & gas-related spills were reported in NM, or an average of 4 spills per day. That means on average each day:
11,000+ gallons of toxic produced water was spilled
1,800+ gallons of crude oil spilled
15+ million cubic ft. of methane flared
(Source: NM Oil Conservation Division/Center for Western Priorities).
XTO, a subsidiary of ExxonMobil, was recently fined $1.77 million for violations related to wastewater wells tied to earthquakes in NM. (Source: NM Oil Conservation Division, Carlsbad Current Argus).
Oil and gas equipment leak rates in the Permian Basin increased 250% in 12 months in 2022. (Source: NM Environment Department).
Methane emissions from natural gas gathering pipelines in the Permian Basin are at least 14 times greater than EPA national inventory estimates. (Source: Environmental Defense Fund.)
New Mexico has the 2nd highest fatality rate of oil and gas workers in the nation. 73 workers died between 2008 and 2018. (Source: Journal of Forensic Sciences).
The oil & gas industry has contributed more than $15 million to New Mexico politicians since 2017, including $2 million in the 2022 elections. (Source: NM Ethics Watch).
Chevron and ExxonMobil corporations recorded profits totaling $31.2 billion in the three month period from July to September 2022 (“Q3”). (Source: NY Times).
It can cost up to $70,000 to clean-up one single abandoned oil & gas well in New Mexico. (Source: NM Oil Conservation Division/Carlsbad Current Argus).
So yeah, thanks a lot NMOGA, New Mexicans sure are thankful for ummm, all of that. You know we’ve been spelling out NMOGA’s hogwash for years but if you wanna check out some more facts head on over to the Crude Intentions homepage and check out what else we’ve called out in the past!